Vinnies has moved quickly to dispel a report that it is at odds with WYD organisers over meals for the homeless during next month's international event.
In a media release, the St Vincent de Paul Society said that a press report stating that the homeless could go hungry during the pope's visit misrepresented the position of the society.
The interview with Night Patrol President Brett Avery was taken completely out of context, Vinnies said.
The article implied incorrectly that Vinnies had taken issue with how the WYD organisers managed the re-location of the Society’s Night Patrol vans during the WYD celebrations.
"This is not the case," the Vinnies media release insisted.
"On the contrary, the Society has worked very closely with Sydney City Council and WYD organizers to ensure the homeless population is catered for during this time.
"While it is true that services have been temporarily relocated to ‘Woodchips’, between Clarence Street and Kent Street, this is a place that Night Patrol has used previously and is well known to the homeless community.
"The Society agrees that to retain the sense of community that is provided by the Night Patrol services, that it would be best to temporarily relocate to a more suitable location.
In addition, the St Vincent de Paul Society's Night Patrol service is currently working closely with WYD to offer WYD Pilgrims the opportunity to put their faith into action and volunteer on Night Patrol throughout the week.
Vinnies aid homeless
Meanwhile Vinnies WA president Genevieve De Souza says that an appeal to raise $600,000 aims to help the increasing number of people living on "the knife's edge" of homelessness, as well as those already on the streets.
While there is usually a spike in requests for emergency assistance as the weather turns cold, this winter is expected to be even busier than usual because of rising rent, food and utility costs.
"Many families are struggling to keep their heads above water," Mrs De Souza said.A NSW Vinnies report also shows that the housing affordability problem is pushing more people into caravan parks, where demand is outstripping supply. Site fees are rising and more caravan parks are being converted into luxury waterfront tourist destinations.
"Vinnie's volunteers told terrible stories of marginalised residents struggling to exist in caravan parks," said the report's author, Dr Andy Marks.
"One volunteer related the account of a woman who came to a park to escape a violent relationship. Battling depression and schizophrenia, she was unable to cover basic living costs so resorted to prostitution within the park simply to survive."
Vinnies not at odds with WYD (Vinnies, Media Release, 4/6/08)